Lately engagement has become a pretty elastic term in regards to its
actual meaning – what makes something engaging is, we’ve come to
realize, totally different than what you might consider to be so.
In other words, most of the times it’s purely subjective. A few years
ago it seemed to be more of a “recipe to success” kind of concept,
whereas in recent times it’s visibly expanded its area of reach – one
might consider commissions an engaging component of a job, while others
might put fun at work above financial incentives.
However, an interesting approach to engagement is competition; to be
more specific, competitiveness amongst work mates. Let’s explore the key
areas of what a competitive work environment can bring to the employee
Some people are competitive by nature
Firstly, consider human nature – many people are naturally
“constructed” in a competitive spirit, they enjoy competition in all
shapes and forms; it drives them, it motivates them to perform better
and with more pleasure, which set in a job context translates into
better results, more efficient work and a win-win situation for both
employer and employee.
Competition can combat indifference
When someone is indifferent about what they’re doing they might get
lazy, postpone the task or do a poor job. An effective way to avoid this
is to set them in a competitive mode and ignite a sort of “anything you
can do, I can do better” spark into their mindset.
For some it
might also be a an issue of respect towards their team-mates if they’re
in a competition together – perhaps they’re not keen on the given task,
but they owe it to their colleagues to do their best job and thus
motivate themselves to perform well. In many cases they end up
discovering they enjoy it more than they initially had thought they
Innovation can be a great outcome of competitiveness
Competition can foster innovation through the right incentives; it
can even be set as a goal when deciding to opt for a competitive
work-style. Picture this: setting up a competition with innovation as
the key outcome will encourage people to be more creative, since they
don’t necessarily think of this as yet another task, but more as a
challenge and an opportunity to bring affront their ideas.
And when properly repaid, be it financially or via public
recognition, this type of competition is a healthy recipe to increase
employees’ motivation level and boost their creativity.
Creating a positive environment
Contrary to the general first instinct, which is to see competition
as something scary or negative, it can really prove to be a positive and
fun for employees. This is because when done right, competition will
feel as more of a gamification component rather than a strategic move.
Think about it – people are more likely to succeed at something that
they perceive in a positive, fun, engaging manner, and when they do
succeed, especially if the process was enjoyable, they will remain
motivated for a longer time. And we all know that motivated individuals
are the gold-mine of any workforce.
Healthy competition at Oracle
At Oracle, we try to introduce competition from time to time as a
means of increasing productivity and, of course, the engagement level of
our colleagues. We found that people seem to take in knowledge so much
better when they are actively involved in the process versus merely
reading and self-educating themselves on a certain topic.
A great example is our Formula One Recruiter Awards, a quarterly
competition in the Asia Pacific offices aimed at engaging recruitment
team members to be as productive as they can in a competitive and
engaging way – a prize contest with public recognition.
This type of event comes to prove our previous point about increasing
not only productivity, but also engagement using a simple strategy of
including competition our strategy.
About the author:
Andreea Nicolescu is passionate about branding,
employee engagement and storytelling. She has been a communication
professional for over 8 years. Currently part of the Recruitment
Branding team at Oracle, she is looking to improve her marketing skills
and find new and exciting ways to promote content.